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So I received the following message from a friend;newspaper

I was really disappointed, yet not at all surprised, yesterday when I heard that The East Valley Tribune would finally be closing it’s doors after 118 years of publication. Was the economy to blame? Bad management? Probably a combination of both. Not the mention the refusal and subsequent floundering that newspapers have been experiencing when it comes to embracing the changes that technology and the internet have brought upon the industry. Sadly though, with it goes all the talented reporters, photographers, columnists and editors who make a difference and an impact on their surrounding community.

So I worked there during college and after college. It is the place where I really got my feet wet in how the industry works. It was my first “career” job or job that related to what I was getting my degree in. Oprah even did a show on Tuesday about her first job as a news anchor in Nashville, TN. So it saddens me to see the Trib go away permanently. Plus I think it a is a great loss to the community to only have ONE newspaper.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

I know at the beginning of 2009 they went through a restructuring in an effort to keep the wheels turning.But it appears it was not enough and the inevitable has come to pass. I contribute its loss to many reasons ; the ever-changing behavior of consumers, the evolution of technology, the instantaneous on the web, and the Trib’s inability to change with the times. But everyone has their own opinion on the current state of newspapers came to be from Clay Shirky to TechCrunch to the Digital Journalist and every blogger in between.

Brian Solis wrote on his blog the fate of newspapers, and journalism, is tied to the publisher’s adeptness and mastery to reinvent the model for the creation, distribution, and promotion of information as it identifies and connects to the shift in social consumption. And the Awl takes a very interesting graphic look at newspaper circulation from 1995 through 2010. But Howard Owen takes a historical look at how events affecting our lives have slowly contributed to the decline of newspapers.

Becker and Posner have a very insightful view of the social impact of the final act of newspapers. They admit more or less the newspaper industry is doomed and will be one of those things you say, I remember when gas was $1.99 and we still had newspapers delivered to the front door. But its decline is a good thing, because populations of undemocratic countries now have much greater access to what is happening in the world than they had in the past due to blogs, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and citizen journalist. And is Paul Gillin‘s, the Newpaper Death Watch chronicles the demise of newspapers and the rebirth of journalism built upon aggregation and reader-generated content.

He summed up the process best, “the new journalism will be better in many ways than what preceded it. It’s just that getting there is going to hurt a lot.”

It’s not TV it’s HBO. And this is not something I would normally blog about but it’s All Hallows Eve. halloween

I was up around 2 in the morning a few nights ago catching up some work and like most people I leave the tv on. Next thing I hear “Pimps Up, Hoes Down … Trick or Treat.” Why HBO, why? Well, apparently this was a documentary or as some would say an entertain-u-mentary, that aired in 2000 as part of the America Undercover series Hookers and Johns. Some how I missed it.

So the premise is an up-close-and-personal look at street prostitution through the eyes of hookers and their “johns.” With footage shot in New York, Newark, Miami and Amsterdam, this adults-only special captures illicit activity that offers compelling insights into the “client side” of the business.

Okay, it was very interesting to say the least and quite disturbing about the world’s oldest profession. I feel bad for the women and disgusted by the men. The women all seem to come from a broken home and see this as a way out. All of them look like they have had a hard life and none of them seem happy. Just check the excerpt from the Reformed Hooker:

I started having sex at the age of 12.
My stepmother was a prostitute.
I never knew my real father.
My real mother died of an overdose shortly after I was born.
I ended up living with my with my aunt till I was 5-years-old. She put me in foster care , and that’s how I ended up with s stepmother. She only wanted me for the welfare money.
My education is mostly street smarts but I did manage to get my GED.
By the age of 15 , I was doing sex for money.
I got Gonorrhea soon after that and took a class on STD’s and prevention from the free clinic in New York City.

Absolutely horrible, so it is beyond me why the authors of Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner suggest being a high-end hooker is big fun, just like being a trophy wife without the marriage in their book Superfreakonomics.

WHAT!!!!!!!!! Those who engage in the act of prostitution feel degraded and less than worthy. According to Popcrunch, even the Godfather, Al Pacino described his days as young male prostitute in his 20s.

“I lived in Sicily by selling the only asset I had – my body,” Pacino told The New York Post Monday. “An older woman traded food and housing in return for sex. I woke mornings not really loving myself.”

Amanda Hess has great retort in her article for the Washington City Paper, the overworked, underpaid sex worker who turns tricks on the street has got deeper systemic problems to deal with. And Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown has already laid the groundwork on this -ish in her excellent piece in the Guardian.

So the point is Halloween doesn’t need to be lumped in with prostitution. Each has its own set of problems without outside interference. Therefore, Halloween should be left up to the school-age trick or treaters hyped up on sugar. And prostitution should be left up to the street-walkers working for fifty dollars. And never the two shall meet.

What surprises you about gaming? Have you ever played MMOGs before? Where did you start your gaming experience? Mario Brothers?

My gaming experience started way back in the day, playing the arcade games at the laudromat as a kid while waiting for the clothes to dry. My bother and I were banned from riding in the carts so my mother gave us a handful of quarters to keep us occupied. So we would take turns playing Centipede, Galaxy and the all-time-classic Pac-Man, which can currently be play at Classic 80′ Arcade Games. The ridiculous amount of money we spent playing arcade games led my parents to buy us the Nintendo (NES) which according to the Classic Gaming Museum was launched in 1985 and accompanied Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. Oh, how gaming has since evolved since then… now it’s online in virtual worlds with virtual people using virtual money.

Okay… so i tried Second Life, has first time user, it’s a little weird. And I am usually not one to judge but it’s a little weird. I have hard enough time staying engaged in my real reality and now I attempting to engaging in a virtual reality. I don’t think this will end well, but I am keeping an open mind. However it does remind me of the Law & Order SUV episode titled Avatars. In that episode a girl was kidnapped from her home, and through investigating, they discovered she was portraying a 14-year-old girl in a virtual world called “Another YOUniverse” creepy. And Second Life also reminds of the 2009 Bruce Willis movie Surrogates. The basic premise is set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots– sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. The cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates. This is Second Life come to life on the big screen.

No matter how my initial feels are about this, it apparently is serious business because there are countless stories about divorce, cheating and adultery in the online world that split up real life couples. Even a young, happily wife wrote about her experience with her husband’s virtual girlfriend in BoingBoing. Now on the flip-side online gaming helps people build character and self-esteem as Ethan Gilsdorf piece in Pschysology Today suggest. The U.S. Army even uses online war game as a recruiting tool. So massive multi-player online games (MMOGs) is not just another form of entertainment but a useful tool for individual or organizations.

And apparently it ain’t a man’s world. CNET News reported on a study released by Nielsen Entertainment. Of the 117 million active gamers in the U.S., 56 percent play games online. Sixty-four percent of those online gamers are female. The women got game! So what’s next for the game industry? I don’t know I am still getting my feet wet … okay maybe just the pinky toe until I get over the weirdness factor.


Should we be afraid of Google?

Why, because it is an unstoppable gargantuan taking over the world. Or because it has become as important as having food, water, and shelter. For better or worse Google has become or is becoming something we can’t live without. The STL Social Media Guy has a fun post about how Google invaded his life in just 11 years.

Philip Lenssen foreshadows Google success at World domination in his piece Google Acquires the Internet (May 2017). Or Bill Synder’s article in PC World discussing why Google may be too big to fail. We all have come to rely on Google, when it comes to the Internet; Google is like the air we breathe. Synder writes, “Google has already achieved the enviable marketing distinction of turning its name into a verb. “There’s probably not an Internet user in the world (even Steve Ballmer) who hasn’t accessed it frequently for search and mapping. But if Google hates you it’s a long road back writes the cartoonist.

With the nature of the Internet ever changing the web is becoming increasingly centered on a few massive sites that take up a disproportionate amount of traffic. Google sits at the very top of the proverbial food chain, accounting for around six percent of all web traffic, and the top 30 web companies actually make up 30 percent of the overall Internet traffic states ReadWriteWeb. The data comes from a new report put out by Arbor Networks.

“Google accounts for an ungodly share of the money that flows through the web space,” said Gary Reback in an article for the Standard. Google posted record third-quarter revenues of $5.94 billion, up 8% over the second quarter, due mostly to strong online advertising revenues, says the Industry Analyst Reporter.

Saying that Google is everywhere is putting it mildly. You can’t browse around without running into some of the most oddly placed Adsense ads that Google decides to put up, Google has its own cell phone with t-mobile (G1), its own browser (chrome), is making its own operating system (chrome os), and according to Dan Siroker helped propelled our President from the ground up. Also let’s not forget Google offers free WiFi on Virgin American flights. Google even as plans to conquer the ocean. Google has been granted its patent for a data center that floats on the ocean. And in an attempt to out do the Amazon Kindle; we have the arrival “Alex” a Google Android-based, dual screen e-book reader.

And better yet,

Through the power of Google analytics and Google profile, Google is your own personal stalker as Jay Ess sees it or Google is God, all-knowing offering everlasting eternity. Webmasters know basically everything they need or want to know about you. Geographic location, page views, how long you’re on the site, what software you’re using, what version of software is being used, even what browser and what resolution are being used. Your path through the website. The list is endless. The only thing that analytics doesn’t tell webmasters, is individual stats about their users (i.e. ip address). They save that information for themselves.

I say there’s no need to be afraid. Because what goes up eventual comes down. The Atlantic asked a better question, what scares Google…. Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, or Wikipedia. At Google its competitors may not be who you think.

Pssst… I secretly enjoy reading them.

The more far-fetched the conspiracy, the better, I love it! Like others, I rarely find anything more than a grain of truth in any of them. And I agree that some of these “conspiracy” authors shouldn’t be left alone at night…

But I absolutely love it. Hidden assassins and witless patsies. Secretive meetings in smoky rooms. Rigged elections, UFOs, religions and secret societies, plots for world domination, or otherwise, if you’re peddling a good (even a not-so-good) conspiracy theory, then there is an audience for it. Check out whatreallyhappened.com

And I am along for the ride; just not along for the anti-Obama ones because I am pro-Obama 100% but all the other ones out there make for a good read.And I am not alone, like Clay Shirky states in the Long tail, our watercoolers are increasingly virtual – the people who gather around them are self-selected.

Like the people over at Comedy.com state, conspiracy theorist aren’t all just homeless guys that scream at fire hydrants, some can still afford a computer. Whether they wear a hat made of tinfoil or host the Glenn Beck show, you can be sure that their batsh*t craziness has been boiled down into something that sounds logical even when you’re on your meds.

It is through the power of web I am able to find all kinds sites and theories devoted to completely ridiculous such as the theory that Kentucky Fried Chicken makes black men impotent. Kentucky Fried Chicken has been claimed to be owned by the Klan and that the chicken is laced with a drug that makes only black men impotent. Ironically, the franchise is actually owned by an African-American. And Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders’ will was rumored to have left 10% of KFC’s profits to the Ku Klux Klan.

Or the semi plausible one such as Marilyn Monroe Was Killed by the Kennedys. The iconic blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, died of a drug overdose (listed as “probable suicide”) on Aug. 5, 1962, at the age of 36. But ever since author Norman Mailer wrote in 1973 that he suspected a cover-up, theories have swirled that she was killed at the behest of President John Kennedy or his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy, both of whom conspiracy theorists have linked her to romantically.

Just check out world mysterious for the top 31 conspiracies. If you just allow your mind to take you on that journey, some of these theories could have actually happened. Plus I you already a skeptic about the world and government then sites such as educate-yourself.org will only confirm your beliefs that the “MAN” is out to get you or there are some really crazy SOBs in this world. At the very least it is all very entertaining.

The people that run and post of these types of sites are really interesting, and well read. They put a lot time, energy and effort to come up these theories. Now where they there get their information is a horse of different color. They just throw so much stuff out there that I’ve never heard and have a logical explanation for everything that I have to give them credit. I mean, there are some very light reads on some of what they are talking about online that support what they says; but I’d really have to dig in and spend time like they do to completely confirm. So it could all be BS or could it…. you knows.

The question was posed “Do we need a Bill of Rights for the social web?”

Well, I personally don’t think I am qualified or possess enough knowledge on the subject to pick aside. I am more than happy to sit on fence and let the experts figure this out, but if I have to pick a side then my instincts tell me no.

Why would we need a Bill of Right for the social web. We can’t user users and creators established their set of guidelines and code of conduct. Why does everything need a mandate. In the words of Rodney King, “…can’t we all just get along.”

And even if there was a social web Bill of Rights, who is deciding upon the rules and regulations that will go in the Bill of Rights. What makes someone more an authority over another person opinion about what should or should not be included. Isn’t the point of the social web it that it is open and inclusive and there is no hierarchy or authoritative figure. In the world of the social web, I thought all women, men, children, animals, vampires and Vulcans are created equal.

And after further investigation, I see the Bill of Rights drafted by four prominent bloggers and technology leaders, Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington’s about how companies should treat the data they collect from (and on) users of social web sites.

Below is the entire text of the “Bill of Rights:”

We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically:

  • Ownership of their own personal information, including:
  1. Their own profile data
  2. The list of people they are connected to
  3. The activity stream of content they create;
  • Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
  • Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

Sites supporting these rights shall:

  • Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friend’s list, and the data that‚ is shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats;
  • Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site;
  • Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and
  • Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service

This is all well and good but this can’t be regulated. You go on these on your own free will. Once you enter your information your give up control. This is no different that with owning a credit card that share your information with its affiliates. Or even when you sign up with Verizon, it sends out a tiny-print leaflet to customers informing them that they’ll share subscribers’ personal information unless you explicitly opt out.

So why is the social web any different from any other institution that you enter your personal information on. Once it is put out there, it is out there and on record. Just think about when you open and close your credit card. Just because you decided to no longer do business the XYZ doesn’t mean your profile, your records are expunged like you never existed. They keep a record until they deem it no longer useful.

As I said before I don’t know a lot about the depth and reach of this animal- the social web, but I do have is commonsense. A commonsense tells me that a Bill of Rights for the social web is a dead end. Not because the social web is too big, but because it goes against the heart and soul of the social web is for open, rather non-restrictive unforced communication. But a Privacy Policy is something that I can support. A Privacy Policy that allows you to Opt In or Opt Out of its information sharing I believe is something everyone can get behind.

….. so here it is. I gear up to start my day, I go to unpack laptop/notebook from its nice comfy, secure little bag. I take it out and place it on the table and begin to check my email. Then the next thing you know I get the low battery warning message on my screen.

I dig in the little black bag for battery adapter……and NOTHING, it is nowhere to be found. I frantically proceed to search every single outlet in the house, from the basement to the kitchen to even the bathrooms, because you just never know….and again NOTHING.

All I can think of is where the F… is my adapter. I retraced all my steps and the last place I can think of having it was in room 250C. I race to Georgetown, hoping, praying it was still in the classroom… and NOTHING. I check lost and found… and STRIKE OUT again. I contact the professor, the receptionist, and the office manager to see if anyone responsible compassionate soul turned a white Apple adapter… and NOPE, NO ONE.

It felt like 40 days and 40 nights had passed since I was last able to get connect to the Net (actually about half a day). I had no idea what was going in the world… eventhough my DirecTV with every channel known to man was less than a hundred feet away. I still felt isolated and cut off from civilization.

Lethe Basher has two great post on the isolation technology creates, Is the Internet Killing Culture and Social Technology Transforming Our World.

How long can a person go without being online?

I only lasted till 5 pm.

By 5:03pm, I was on my to the Apple store to pay what I assumed to be no more than $40 for a new adapter.

Boy……Was I WRONG.

The actual cost including tax was $82.95.

WTF… for damn battery charger… $82.95. I couldn’t believe it. Impeding despair and angry set in as I left with my newly acquired overpriced purchase.  Things I could have gotten for $82.95 consumed me from that point on.

  • IPOD Shuffle
  • A small malnourished child through Feed the Children for at least 8 months
  • Refrigerator/Freezer off of Craigslist
  • A scalped U2 ticket
  • 6 Bikini waxes
  • 3 Mani/Pedi’s depending on which salon you use
  • 26 Big Macs from McD’s
  • 20 GrandeSoy Chai’s from Starbucks
  • A knock off Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag
  • 60 1-gallon containers of milk
  • Go on a Caribbean cruise for a rate $35
  • Lastly you can survive up 75 days in: Timor-Leste, Malawi, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Yemen, Burundi, Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Niger, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Zambia, and Eritrea because the average citizen makes less $2.50 a day

So for right now Apple sucks. I know I am not alone in this, O’Breilly released his frustration in Three Reasons Why Apple Sucks But iStill Use Their Products. I just can’t bring myself to open the package knowing I’ll be charged the 15% repackage fee when I eventually bring my newly acquired, overpriced adapter right back to the store.

As of 10:02am the next day I returned the unopened, untouched overpriced adapter back to the Apple store. And purchase a cheaper one on Amazon.com for about $30.00.

After a few days on a PC, I am sure I will fall back in Like again with all thing lovely and amazing about Apple.

How many theses does the Cluetrain Manifesto *actually* present? (Hint: it’s not 95)
Assuming that this is not a trick question where, there is no right or wrong answer because what is right to you maybe wrong to me, I am going to say there are actually 62 theses in the Cluetrain Manifesto. Or maybe it is just 1 since the main idea is about conversations.

The web has bought businesses and people back to informal communicating, sort of a Laissez-faire type approach. The Internet was basically changed the way business is done. The Cluetrain Manifesto push is either get on board with the open, participatory communication or become obsolete. Business-as-usual model as become antiquated; the Web offers people the chance to engage, share and learn from each other. As the book states, connected, they reclaim their voice in the market, but this time with more reach and wider influence than ever.

In the forward key points are mentioned, the book is an obituary for business-as-usual. It shows how your Web strategy may be minutes from obsolescence. It reveals how the Internet has made your entry-level employees as powerful as your senior vice president of marketing.

Second, the book simply describes business as it really is and as it’s really becoming. Organization operating by the old standard model of business need to undergo a metamorphosis. Control is a losing game in a global marketplace where the range of customer choice is already staggering and a suicidal game for companies that must come up with the knowledge necessary to create those market choices.

Third, the basic message involves speaking with a human voice. That means stories instead of lectures, humor instead of hubris, description instead of PowerPoint pie charts. Authenticity, honesty, and personal voice underlie much of what is successful on the Web.

Finally, this book states how conversation forms the basis of business, how business lost that voice for a while, and how that language is returning to business thanks to a technology that inspires, and in many cases demands, that we speak from the heart. These new conversations online are generating new ways of looking at problems. They are spawning new perspectives, new tools, and a new kind of intellectual bravery more comfortable with risk than with regulation. The World Wide Web reinforces freedom without restraint. The Web is a real place where people can go to learn, to talk to each other, and to do business together. It is a bazaar where customers look for wares, vendors spread goods for display, and people gather around topics that interest them. It is a conversation.

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